“It is not about me!” I found myself repeating that phrase to myself a few times on Saturday, my birthday. What a depressing weekend! It started off great at Men’s Bible Study, but went downhill fast when my wife and I started talking about budget-related items. Earlier, the Bible Study leader had invited us to attend a Couples Dinner at the church that evening. We went, almost reluctantly. Bruce McCracken gave an introduction to his Seasons of Marriage weekend seminar. It was convicting at a time I didn’t want it.
Sunday was even worse. I didn’t feel like talking to anyone, and mostly didn’t. By nighttime, my wife thought I was mad at her, even though I told her how I felt during our little break between Sunday school and morning service at our church (a different one): depressed, like a huge disappointment to my family, and slight headache. I don’t know what to think now. But this is certainly not the time to bring up issues either. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. (This was written yesterday, 2/13.)
“Whether I feel like it or not…” is probably an applicable phrase for me in many respects. “Husbands, love your wives just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her… whether you feel like it or not.” “Be anxious for nothing… whether you feel like it or not.” “Pray without ceasing… whether you feel like it or not.” “Confess your sins… whether you feel like it or not.” “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect… whether you feel like it or not.” “Love God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, and all your strength… whether you feel like it or not.” “Love your neighbor as yourself… whether you feel like it or not.” Let feelings be the result, not the motivation. Let His love be the driver.
It complements my earlier statement, “It’s not about me!” But I should not leave it there. It is about Christ! His love will motivate me! Do not grieve the Holy Spirit, but be filled with the Holy Spirit. I love because He first loved me.
Therefore, I am able to love my wife, children, in-laws, regardless of the love I receive back from them. God has pasted the “Here You Are” label to my life and, just as the kid looking at the museum directory sign, I should be astonished that He knows this, and rest in the comfort of His provisions graced to me in my present circumstances.
I should also keep in mind how I would want to evangelize to others. I want to show my reasonableness, Christ’s love, and His assurances. It would be stupid to start with condemnation, commands, and judgments. Yet, that is exactly what I do with my own family: condemn, command, and judge. “Come to me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest for your souls,” says Jesus. Lead others to His gentle ways. Let them find rest for their weary souls in Him.
Lastly, just because I don’t feel it doesn’t mean it’s not real. There was a time that His word did not make sense to me. But it was very real nevertheless. Be real. Be genuine. Be useful to Him. Do not bury my talent. Love others with His love, not my own. Soak and baste in His love, then I will have more than enough to give away, and find I love others whether or not I feel loved by them.